Session 2: The Innocence Project, General Keynote

Have you ever heard of the Medill Innocence Project?

Until I attended this morning’s general keynote about the project, I hadn’t either, and I almost can’t believe that I hadn’t. The Medill Innocence Project, which is technically a class offered at Northwestern University, is made up of 10 students and one professor who reopen criminal cases in Chicago that have been forgotten. Their investigative reporting has even led to the abolition of the death penalty in Illinois, made official in March 2011.

What was interesting about this keynote was that it wasn’t really an advice-driven presentation. The members of the Innocence Project who spoke today weren’t really up there to tell us how to be better journalists, or how to brand ourselves, or any of the other lessons that are so often taught during these sessions. Instead, they were simply there to tell us what they do and how they do it.

I found the Innocence Project to be fascinating. The idea that student journalists are capable of creating such change is really inspiring. It seems to be an incredible opportunity for students at Northwestern, and I was really very interested in everything they had to say.

— Rebecca Iannucci

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